November 16th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama chooses more White House positions

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Obama-Biden transition team announced new White House staff picks Sunday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The man who steered Barack Obama's Senate office will now move over to the White House with the incoming president.

The Obama Transition Office Sunday morning announced that Peter Rouse, currently Obama's chief of staff in his Senate office, will serve as a senior advisor to the President. Before joining Obama in December 2004, Rouse was chief of staff for 19 years to former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. Prior to that he was chief of staff to then-Rep. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Watch: A longtime Obama friend was named a senior White House advisor this weekend

The Obama transition team also announced that Mona Sutphen will serve as a deputy chief of staff. Sutphen is a member of the transition team staff and has been managing director of Stonebridge International LLC, an international strategic consulting firm based in Washington. From 1991 to 2000 she was a U.S. foreign service officer, and among other assignments she served in the White House at the National Security Council from 1998 to 2000, under President Bill Clinton.

Jim Messina was also named a deputy chief of staff. Messina's currently the director of personnel for the President-elect's transition team. He saved as a national chief of staff for Obama's presidential campaign. Prior to that Messina served as a chief of staff for Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York. President-elect Obama, in a statement released by the transition team, said "these individuals are important additions to a team with the experience and ability to help our nation overcome pressing challenges at home and around the world."

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Change, change and more change....into the Carter / Clinton adminstration, with a healthy dose of lobbyists to add flavor.

    This is what happens when voters and the media don't pay attention.

    November 16, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. JAY N.H.

    All these republcans who are criticizing Obama for picking a lot of old clinton staffers need to remember that Obama is picking the best people for the job, and the last time this country enjoyed economic prosperity was during the clinton admin. He turned a deficit from Sr. Bush into a surplus. So we need to give Obama a break and see how he performs before we criticize.

    November 16, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  3. Texas Teacher

    A President in office who does NOT surround himself with WELL qualified people that he KNOWS he can trust IS a FOOL! I don't think for one moment that Barack Obama is a fool.

    Just the opposite, I suspect that he is the first TRULY qualified and MORALLY equiped man for President that this country has seen since Abraham Lincoln! And I don't consider that an exaggeration in the least!

    Obama, is the One.... 🙂

    November 16, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. D O

    Good thinking

    November 16, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Lauren


    It seems a huge number of the Messiahs staff has " served under Clinton " in thier resume.

    Can he not find the CHANGE he was preacing all along?

    Or is it the simple fact he really does not have the experiance and has to surround himself with former Clinton staff?

    But then again, he may be smart, place all these former white house staffers in his staff, he will look better than if he tried to do it himself when he does not know how.

    November 16, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. Fred, NJ

    I'm concerned that there will be too many Clinton people. Clinton was good, but he also made some mistakes.

    Also, this bait and switch with the 700 billion dollar bail out is not fair. Paulson should go to jail. He said he didn't tell Congress about "recapitalization becaue he didn't know how to sell that". This man is a snake, he took our money, paid his buddies and then thumbed his nose at the taxpayers. He is slime and I hope Congress makes him pay.

    Paulson has figured out, like the oil companies that you do the deed, then go back and apologize. Listen to Congress scream, and then you go home.

    November 16, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Denise Groves

    I want to know who the AG will be, and the Sec of Defense.

    November 16, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. Dennis

    Bill Richardson = Sec State
    Warren Buffet = Sec Treasury
    T. Boone Pickens = Sec Energy
    Colin Powell

    November 16, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Simmy

    The gathering of the great minds, movers and shakers, to bring this country back to order; I love it!

    November 16, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Dennis

    to conclude;
    Colin Powell = Sec Defense
    John Mccain = Sec Veteran Affairs (they could sure use a heavy hitter)
    Hillary = Supreme Court

    How hard was that?

    November 16, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Susan

    The positions that have been filled are going to get very difficult to keep up with. It is also hard to keep track of what has yet to be filled. Is there any way CNN can come up with some sort of interactive visual so that readers could keep everything straight. Like, say you could click on cabinet and it would show you all the cabinet positions, or click on white house staff, etc.

    November 16, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. LJinLACA

    Looking forward to an outstanding cabinet built to serve the People's interests instead of corporate's interests...
    Hail to our next Commander in Chief!

    November 16, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. BM

    All I can say is that an Obama Presidency will be awesome! Can't think of a BIMBO yet that was even in his company. Can't say that about his opponent(lol)

    November 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. pat

    I find it very encouraging that Pres.-elect Obama appears to be choosing people with a great degree of knowledge in many different areas. To those who think choosing people from past administrations is the same old politics, how could he possibly accomplish anything with an entire crew of inexperienced staff and cabinet members? I believe his promise of change is in policies and how they are executed. Nothing could be accomplished without people who know the workings of Washington.

    November 16, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. juice

    Where are the black folks in his cabinet?

    November 16, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. R.J. of tucson

    for all the promise of change, I just see more of the same ole washington democrat regulars! who was elected b.o. or b.J.clinton, with the appointment of his old staff,this change is it from a patriotic stand up of for america,to a cowering look to appease the other nations before our own needs and whats best for americans!I've yet to see any real meaningful change or even the real promise of change!

    November 16, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  17. Colin Mupombwa

    Continue with deliberate haste to fill the important positions.

    November 16, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Jesse Folk

    check for typos. not trying to be a jerk here since i'm a Web writer too.

    "He saved as a national chief of staff " you might want to change that to "served"

    November 16, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Finally!

    I'm glad to see the Obama team moving forward. With the country in the worst shape it's ever been, an NO leadership for the next two months, it is going to get worse before Obama takes office.

    I'm sure this item will also have a lot of whiney posts from the Repubs. I love their favorite line, "that's not change". BULL!

    In case nobody noticed, the Democrats won. Of course, Obama is going to staff his administration with a lot of Dems. CHANGE is about healing this country's wounds, and it requires experienced people. The economy was GREAT during the Clinton administration, so why wouldn't Obama appoint former Clinton staff.

    I believe Obama's leadership WILL BE the best we have ever seen, and the will be a CHANGE in the way government does business. The first phase is to erase all the damage from the Bush administration before it's too late.

    November 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. tammy

    I think America is going to see the wisest US President of all time. He is reaching out to those that derided him and made him nothing and he is bringing them to his banqueting table. What a man ! Obama is like Mandela but even more.. This is really historic. I think this is the way he will win the middle east. He will not win by the barrel of a gun but will win the hearts of those nations.

    November 16, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Ray from NY

    Du=id i vote for the wrong man? I thought i voted for change and a bi-partison President!! His picks up till now met with my approval and i have defended him. But, now all i see are his longtime friends and washinton insiders!1 Please Pres-Elect Obama do some chosing that will make us not regret our decision.

    ( i know this won't be posted but i had to speak my peace!)

    November 16, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. mitch

    his advisors will keep close tabs on his cabinet selections. these people are good at what they do. plouffe,axelrod. both masterminds and with barack leading it is a trio of geniuses.

    November 16, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. alaskans against Palin

    I think Obama is making great choices for his White House Staff and Cabinet positions. I'm so glad Bill Clinton gave Obama the advise to pick his WH staff first, and learn from his mistakes. It will help him be the best prepared president he can be on day 1. Lord knows we will need him to be on his A game that day...looking forward to the l"ame ducks" departure.

    November 16, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. SD Demo

    It looks as if Obama is building in a staff with useful contacts with Congress, the business community, the Clinton administration, etc. That should be helpful. A few Repubs (carefully screened to find the few nonwierdos available there) would be a good idea as well. Even conservative firebomber Fred Barnes (on the Fox News Circus) admitted Hillary Clinton would be an effective choice for Secretary of State.

    November 16, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Vic

    All excellent choices!

    November 16, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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